What are Tooth Extractions?
Tooth extraction is the surgical removal of your child’s permanent (adult) or primary (baby) teeth. While the idea of “surgical removal” sounds scary, the process is very simple, straightforward, and safe.
If your child feels frightened about their upcoming tooth removal, help them understand what will happen. It’s normal to feel frightened of something new, but if you stay calm, your child will feel more reassured.
When Is a Tooth Extraction Necessary?
There are a few reasons our dentist may recommend removing your child’s permanent or primary teeth. The most common causes include abscesses, severe cavities, and to relieve tooth crowding.
An abscess is an infection beneath a tooth, below the gum line. Generally, this infection presents in a tooth’s roots. While some abscesses can be treated without removing the affected tooth or teeth, extraction is sometimes necessary for your child’s oral health. Left untreated, an abscess can cause pain, fever, and swelling. In the most severe cases, the infection can also spread to other teeth, the jaw, or the face.
When tooth removal is necessary, the dentist will extract it and then drain the abscess. The dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics after (and sometimes before) the procedure.
Tooth extraction is sometimes necessary if a cavity is so extensive there isn’t enough healthy tooth left for other remedies, like a filling or crown. If the dentist removes a primary tooth, nothing further is necessary. However, there are replacement options if a permanent tooth needs removal.
Some people have naturally crowded mouths that can cause teeth to come in crooked. A child’s baby teeth may also fail to fall out in time to give adult teeth enough room in the mouth. In these cases, the child’s dentist may recommend the removal of one or more teeth.
Children with naturally crowded mouths may have teeth removed before orthodontic treatment, like braces. Removing one or more teeth helps make room for the remaining teeth.
Tooth Extraction Process
The tooth extraction process begins with a set of x-rays to check the tooth roots and bone condition of the surrounding jaw. This helps the dentist come up with a comprehensive plan for your child specifically.
Once a plan is in place, the general dentist for children will use local anesthesia. This numbs the gums and mouth around the tooth, so your child doesn’t feel pain during the procedure.
Once the mouth is numb, the dentist will use forceps to remove the tooth. They’ll do this by wiggling the tooth in its socket and rotating it to help separate the ligaments attached to the jawbone.
Minor bleeding and swelling at the extraction site are normal. Sterile gauze will be applied to the area after removal to help control bleeding.
A protective blood clot will form where the tooth used to be. To prevent dislodging it, tell your child to avoid rinsing for the first 24 hours and don’t let them drink through straws. Encourage them to stay hydrated.
Tooth Extractions Don’t Have To Be Scary
A tooth extraction sounds scary, but it’s a straightforward and safe process. A little fear is normal in young children, but you can help your child by explaining the process and staying calm. If you have questions or concerns about the extraction, please contact our dental team today.